Results day: How to land a job in big data

Big data jobs are some of the most well-paid jobs across all sectors, and in honour of Big Data Week 2014, we thought we'd put together a guide on how you can get in on the action.

There's been a predicted shortfall of 243 per cent of skilled individuals needed to fill big data analytics jobs in the UK alone, and companies and organisations are currently scrambling over each other to recruit emerging talent.

What's more, a data scientist can emerge from just about any field. Most analysts will tell you that it's misleading to describe big data simply in terms of a set of tools or programming languages. The common thread is the need fordata-savvy professionals who have the ability to draw meaningful insights from the flood of data pouring into the modern organisation.

1. Get a grounding in basic statistics

In data analytics, everyone needs at least some formal training in statistical analysis. Degrees with some statistical component are highly valued, such as science or maths, but that doesn't mean it's just boffins and eggheads who are desirable in the big data space.

When she spoke to ITProportal, Anabel Gutierrez, lecturer of business and management at Regent's University London, told us that psychologist undergraduates were actually some of the most prized candidates for big data courses, due to their strong combination of statistical knowledge and interpersonal skills. Remember – a data scientist has to integrate with a lot of different departments, and has to communicate information to a whole raft of people. They have to make the data tell a story.

Some occupational roles will also require additional computer and statistical programming skills, other roles will require new datamanagement and data cleaning skills, and yet other roles will require skills in data visualisation and interpretation.

2. Get a Masters

So this isn't a cheap option, but can really put you ahead in the big data job market. Enrolment onto big data courses are doubling every year around the world, and graduates of these programmes are sometimes being offered five or six jobs upon graduation. Regent's University is one London-based institution running a big data course, but they're gathering pace all around the country, and shouldn't be hard to find near you.

3. Get qualified

Not everyone can leave the workforce for 10 months to get a big data qualification. Some people can pick-up the necessary skills on the job, using online learning courses. The Open University run a course called "Analysing Data" that would put graduates in very high demand for big data jobs.

Similarly, the Big Data University offers courses to bring you up to date with numerical and graphical summaries of data, and get you ready to become part of the big data elite.

4. Go hunting

The final step is to get yourself a job as a data analyst! If you have all the prerequisite steps, this should be the easy part...